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National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

As we have been watching the headlines there is much to think about. It brings to mind the parable of the Good Samaritan. What if we followed the lesson of the `Good Samaritan`?

In the Inquiry's mandate:

"The commissioners are required to examine and report on the systemic causes behind the violence that Indigenous women and girls experience, and their greater vulnerability to violence, by looking for patterns and underlying factors that explain why higher levels of violence occur. The commissioners have been mandated to examine the underlying historical, social, economic, institutional and cultural factors that contribute to the violence. 

The commission will examine practices, policies and institutions such as policing, child welfare, coroners and other government policies/ practices or social/economic conditions.

The commissioners, as part of their mandate, will examine and report on institutional policies and practices that have been put in place as a response to violence, including those that have been effective in reducing violence and increasing the safety of Indigenous women and girls."

Once all is said and done, we will likely know much more than we do now. We may understand the sources and causes of violence more clearly. We may see where the systemic gaps are and how the system dysfunctions. But what are the remedies? Shall there be longer jail sentences to serve as deterrents to violence? Shall we wage a war on poverty? Shall we introduce training on ending racism?

Perhaps varying amounts of all the above, but in truth violence is likely to still occur as it has for years until economic and social disparities are resolved, and the dehumanizing acts of racism and colonialism are ended. 

What if we took seriously the lesson of the `Good Samaritan`? Imagine if we started to treat victims, survivors, family and friends with compassion, care and humanity and with that, bring real help to those in pain. Maybe institutions could change where they might not feel so cold, isolating and institutional. Where justice system officials may feel more freedom to express themselves as people rather than only relying on the roles and job descriptions that define their `silos`.

Perhaps a short way of saying this is to put the humanity back into the system. If we can manage this, those affected by violence would find a warm, protected place in search of resolution and comfort. And with this new spirit there may be a better chance to find the answers and solve the crimes.

Our hope is to find and use opportunities to respond to another?s pain with a renewed sense of compassion. This conversation must begin, and begin now.

For this reason, we are pleased to host in Norway House The Honourable Chief Justice Glenn D. Joyal and his colleagues, The Honourable Madam Justice Sadie Bond, The Honourable Madam Justice Kaye E. Dunlop, The Honourable Madam Justice Lore Mirwaldt, and The Honourable Madam Justice Colleen Suche along with others from the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench to meet with us and begin discussions on reconciliation.

This meeting scheduled for October 31st in Norway House will be an opportunity for the Court and our communities to address the obligations, opportunities and challenges that surround the Court?s relationship with Indigenous Manitobans. In this era of reconciliation it is time for us to meet with one another; to listen, to learn and to understand.

Following this, on November 7th & 8th, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will be holding hearings in Norway House. We trust that this opportunity will give our people the opportunity to find release, resolution and become champions for change to a more compassionate system. 

Indeed, in the spirit of the `Good Samaritan` let us together as one nation, as one people, as one humanity; listen, learn, understand and take action for those we see suffering.

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